About 20 miles south of Bend, Oregon you’ll see the turnoff for Paulina (pron. Paul-eye-na) Lake and East Lake (my family recently spent an afternoon at East Lake). These two beautiful lakes are part of the Newberry National Monument. (click the link to learn more about this volcanic crater). There are also nice campgrounds in this location. You can choose from campsites for trailer or tent camping. I think now is a good time to mention that Central Oregon has very few flying insects to pester campers. We DO have bugs. There just aren’t hoards and swarms of them…generally speaking. Of course that varies according to how close you are to water and what time of year it is. Having grown up in the southern USA, I have a warped perspective of what “a lot of bugs” looks like, though.
A few miles down the road leading to East Lake and Paulina Lake you will begin to see signs for the Obsidian Flow. Take the time to stop by there at least once during your visit to Central Oregon. It’s pretty impressive to see this mountain of volcanic glass..and walk around on it.It is educational, too!
And there’s a nice little spot for a picnic lunch before or after your hike to the top.
The hike is not rough. Though, there is a pretty significant bank of stairs at the beginning.
This shot is from the top of the stairs. I don’t recommend bringing Grandma and Grandpa here unless they’re very mobile and agile. The trail itself is pretty tame. The most strenuous part is the stairs.
More to learn.
Lastly (and also firstly) we have the parking lot.
Unless you walk particularly fast or slow, visiting the Obsidian Flow and doing the hike generally will take about an hour. There is a place to sit (it’s near the top of the stairs) if part of your group wants to rest while the others go further.
My one complaint about the Obsidian Flow is the horrendously smelly restroom situation. The rooms themselves are decently clean but WOW the smell is amazingly overpowering. I wonder if it might have to do with the hot springs that are prominent in the area…but I really have no clue. We’ve been to this spot several times in the last seven years and every time the bathrooms have been this way and that’s why I don’t think it’s an issue of them not being emptied frequently enough (they’re stationary, too – so I don’t even know if it’s possible to empty them). *cough* Sorry for that unpleasant info. It seemed important.
There you have it. More good reasons to visit Central Oregon; Beauty, Education, Exercise, low bug population, camping, and a mountain of glass!